Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10 Cool Counter top Looks for Your Kitchen

What is Your Preferred
Kitchen Counter-top Material?

I've tried several looks in my own homes. So, when I saw Freshome Design and Architecture had compiled a top-10 list of materials, I was curious to see which ones they had selected.  If you'd like to see their favorite counter tops, you can go here.
Here Are Some of My Favorites:

Butcher Block.
After enjoying a dark granite in one home for a while, I sought something new and different for an island house that we bought to update. Upon reading that Chuck Williams, founder of Williams Sonoma, liked butcher block for its practicability and simple styling, I zeroed in on it. It seemed perfect for the space we were about to tackle. Mr. Williams actually used his butcher block for chopping purposes. I had a broader surface to cover and wanted to ensure it remained hygienic. The butcher block we bought did come with a sealant on it, but our contractor removed it and re-sealed it with a better lasting product. Loved it!

We selected a greenish marble for the counter top in the background on the baking table.

I like the vintage yet elegant look of Carrera marble but am not so keen on the fact that it stains easily. Think red wine spills. Yikes! When the time came again to decide on a material, I had to ask myself, "Can I continually live with red reminders of past parties?" And when also considering the price point, I had to pass. So, along comes this grayish quartz with its soft faint ingrained movement. I chose it and give it a thumb's up. It was paired with a complementary granite used in a couple places. I recommend this material and, I grant you, some will think it's the pricier marble! (Although, let me say, quartz doesn't come cheaply.)

The material in the foreground is Caesarstone Quartz.
Above on the eating bar is granite.

I was intent on getting this material, despite the warnings that it's expensive, soft, fragile and easy to chip. And, apparently, when it does chip, it exposes a white chalky middle. The top is typically light to dark gray in color. This kitchen was used often and thoroughly. Not one chip! Very pleased with the look; however, it is a bit of a high maintenance choice. It needs regular coatings of an oil treatment to prevent it from exhibiting a dry and uneven look.

A Couple Looks Featured in Freshome, which addresses all these plus recycled glass, cork, concrete and slate:

Re-claimed Wood.
This is a trending look, being paired up with more expensive materials and upscale designs.

This selection is softer than stainless, so it will show nicks and dents. It's elegant.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recycling and Revamping Kitchens in Texas and Colorado!

It's All About Pine Beetle Kill
in the Colorado Rockies
 The large umbrella-fashioned ceiling is made from pine tree bark. The tree trunk central to the design, along with the legs of the bar, came from dead pine trees. A beetle infestation has devastated many mountainous states. Industrious carpenters and artists have played the hand dealt them by Mother Nature. They've taken the pine tree remains to make furniture and use as construction materials. For more information about pine beetle kill and projects, here is one site that provides more visuals and explanation.

To get the rustic look desired for their weekend get-away, one Denver couple looked to their "backyard" for construction materials.

In Houston, a homeowner
decided to dismantle her kitchen. She removed all the doors to the cabinets to create an open French farmhouse look. It all began one night . . . . She sat on her kitchen floor with a glass of wine and contemplated the best look she could achieve on a zilch construction budget. This is what she came up with:

She also painted the cabinets in a soft distressed blue, added a new deep farm sink and 
stainless countertops. She placed her collection of copper pots in the small unreachable 
cubbies above. By keeping the original cabinetry, she saved money while managing to create a customized space.

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